Humanitarian organizations have criticized the plans of G7 members of the world’s most industrialized countries to distribute more than 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries by 2022, seeing a regular distraction.
“It sounds better than it really is,” said Fiona Ulendal of the World Vision children’s organization. The G7 wants to divert attention from the fact that it is against lifting the copyright protection of COVID-19 vaccines, it said.
Oxfam International’s Gern Kalinski has specifically targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who continues to oppose lifting patent protection. Merkel argues that such a move would not help as it is not patents that are slowing global vaccine production.
Vaccine production needs to be expanded to all parts of the world to address the structural causes of unequal distribution, Kalinski said. To achieve this, patent protections must be lifted.
“People in poor countries should not depend on the goodwill of profit-driven political and pharmaceutical companies,” he said.
Although the development of life-saving vaccines was based on taxpayers’ money, Kalinski added, the chancellor considers the vaccines to be the private property of a few companies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 11 billion doses of vaccine will be needed to fight the pandemic – far more than the 2.3 billion announced by Angela Merkel that the G7 plans to distribute in total.